KOLKATA: In a first-of-its-kind initiative in West Bengal, a Kali Puja committee at Dhakuria in south Kolkata would be inaugurated by six acid attack survivors who would then be imparted livelihood skills to ensure that they find jobs for a secure and dignified living.Dhakuria’s Tarun Mahal Kali Puja will be inaugurated by six acid attack survivors — Jhuma Sarkar, Sutapa Das, Sujata Swarnakar, Kakoli Das, Sanchayita Yadav and Sahanara Khatoon — on November 4.
The puja committee has designed a bold poster in which the face of an acid attack victim has been juxtaposed alongside an image of Goddess Kali.Speaking about the initiative, Dhakuria Tarun Mahal secretary Sarbajit Sengupta said, “We took the decision collectively to bring light into the lives of the people who have otherwise been pushed into darkness by the society.”
The move comes close to another south Kolkata club inviting an acid attack survivor to be part of Durga Puja celebrations, while a fashion show exclusively for acid attack victims was held in the beginning of October.Though hailing from diverse backgrounds and places across south Bengal, the six acid attack survivors have something in common: they had all rejected the proposals of stalkers.
“It is a welcome initiative in integrating us with the society which has pushed us to the margins for no fault of ours. As I am keen on learning computer basics, I would be trained accordingly. Other victims, who lost vision after falling prey to acid attacks, will be trained to make eatables, while another victim who wasn’t allowed into school after an acid attack, will be imparted education. It (the training in livelihood skills) will make us independent and less dependant on others to get by,” Sanchayita Yadav, an acid attack survivor, said.
Narrating the insecurities of the acid attack survivors, she added: “Several acid attack survivors were turned away from their in-laws’ place and are currently living with their parents. However, after their parents’ death, one wonders if their brothers will take care of them. Hence, it is vital that they learn to fend for themselves.”